Outfit Ideas that Set You Apart for Your Next Job Interview
Your outfit for that job interview needs to make you feel confident and comfortable. But you can also step it up a notch with a few subtle tweaks to conventional wisdom.
February 17, 2020
Written by Jericho Bundac
Job interviews can really do a number on your nerves. Preparing for the questions and doing your research can help alleviate some of the stress. Still, another way to step into an interview with confidence is getting your interview attire just right. When you look good, you feel good.
Looking good starts with following the known rules for what to wear at an interview. Dress for the job that you want. Better to be overdressed than underdressed. Research the company's dress code.
It's good to follow these basic rules, but you also want to differentiate yourself visually. How you dress won't trump your experience or interview performance. But it just might help you make not only a great first impression but a lasting impression.
So why don't we throw around some ideas for your next job interview outfit? We'll focus on what can help you stand out while working within the socially accepted parameters.
Read on. It won’t take long. Afterall, you have an interview to prepare for.
It's Time to Modernize Business Formal
You'll run into about three different kinds of office cultures. We'll discuss a business formal office first before discussing business casual and smart casual dress codes. Jobs in banking, finance, or the legal profession, to name a few, expect you to dress a certain way.
It doesn't mean you have to wear a dreary black suit. Wear a well-tailored suit in blue or gray. Don't go too crazy with pinstripes, herringbone or other suit patterns. Even if you learn that people dress a little flashier at the firm, it's good to err on the side of caution for the interview.
Once you have your suit picked out, coordinate your tie and shirt to complement the suit. We suggest white and lighter coloured shirts to create a contrast between the suit and the tie.
A lighter coloured shirt paired with a beautiful tie makes for a visually arresting look. Ties don't need to be boring, but they shouldn't be too flashy. Avoid novelty prints and stick to classic and tasteful designs.
Think about pairing your navy blue suit with a white shirt and a navy blue tie like this one. Or how about a gray suit with a light blue shirt, and a luxurious French Blue Grenadine tie?
Just because it's a business formal dress code in the office doesn't mean you're handcuffed to the same stuffy colours everyone else will be wearing. Feel free to add a breath of fresh air in stylish yet subtle ways.
Add Texture for an Exciting Business Casual Look
An office with a business casual dress code has quite the variance. You really have to do your homework. Ask someone you know in the company. Look at employee LinkedIn profiles. Study their website and social media for clues to see where they fall between the casual and conservative spectrum.
Regardless of what you learn, you'll want to add a touch of class, sophistication, and style to your interview ensemble. A great way to achieve this goal under the radar is by adding texture.
Consider wearing a tweed blazer to your next business casual interview to dress up a well-pressed shirt and dress pants. You can also lose the blazer altogether and dress yourself up with a great tie. A crisp white shirt provides a great canvass for the delicate texture of a navy blue or burgundy grenadine tie. Roll up your sleeves to relax your look and show you're the kind of person who doesn't shy away from hard work.
You want to arrive at the interview looking like you belong. But even if you learn the dress code for the startup is jeans and a hoodie, you still want to dress a little better for the interview. Start with well-fitting jeans, a fresh shirt, and clean sneakers.
To step up your interview attire from casual to "smart casual," think about layering your outfit. Layer a solid-coloured merino sweater with a patterned shirt underneath. Or if you feel comfortable, wear a subtly patterned sweater with a solid-coloured shirt. Remember to keep it subtle with your patterns. Pair your top combination with slim-fitting dark wash jeans, and you have an interview outfit that shows a bit of your personality.
Don't be afraid to experiment. Do your research and try on some outfit combinations the night before your interview. Find an attire that makes you feel confident and comfortable. Iron your shirt and pants, review some interview questions, get a good night's sleep, and you're ready to go.